In continuing to explore the many different types of massage therapy that is available to the massage, the next modality we will talk about is an Asian method of body work called Shiatsu. The Japanese word Shiatsu is translated to finger pressure and is probably one of the more common Asian types of massage that one would encounter in a spa or therapeutic massage atmosphere. Shiatsu massage “…is a form of massage in which the fingers are pressed onto particular points of the body to ease aches, pain, tension, fatigue, and symptoms of disease.” (Mosby’s Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage, p. 477). Shiatsu works using finger pressure along certain point around the meridians of the body. This helps to restore balance to the body by strengthening and stimulating these energy circuits of the body.
Meridians are the foundation of shiatsu and so it is important to understand, at least in part, the role that they play in this modality. The Meridian System “is a distribution network for the fundamental substances of Qi (pronounced chee), blood and body fluids throughout the body”…pathways created my the meridian system “make up a comprehensive yet complex body map that supplies vital energy to every part of the body.” (http://www.shen-nong.com/eng/principles/whatmeridian.html). There are twelve different meridians in the body and each governs the function of our major organs. The list of meridians includes the lung, large intestine, spleen, stomach, heart, small intestine, kidney, bladder, heart constrictor (helps function of the heart related to circulation), triple heater (support function of the small intestine, controls visceral organs circulation energy to the entire body, support functions of the lymphatic system), liver, and gallbladder meridians (Mosby’s Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage, p.479).
If you suffer from headaches or migraines, constipation, menstrual cramping, back pain during pregnancy, rheumatoid arthritis, get sick often or just have trouble relaxing, then this is the massage for you!